News feeds like Facebook’s shape how you see the world. Algorithms behind those sites determine what news is important enough for you to see. Their goal is to improve the relevance of the stories you read, but they have a nasty side effect: They control the flow of information, and you wind up in an echo chamber where you only hear ideas you agree with.
On the surface, the idea of suggesting stories that are relevant to you makes sense. Google Now suggests articles they think you’ll like based on your search history. You can even prevent this feature from showing you stories about topics or from news sources you don’t like. After all, why would you want Google recommend garbage from sites you hate? However, the more you hear the same perspectives from the same sources, the more it reinforces your ideas without ever challenging them. It’s understandable if you don’t want to see articles about underwater basket weaving if you’re not into it, but when it comes to important topics, only getting news from one outlet colors your perceptions and even leads to a tribal mentality where we vilify anyone outside the group.
How Sites Like Google and Facebook Put You In Political Echo Chambers (1)